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2 arrested for child abuse in Stevens Co.

Two caretakers have arrested and charged with assaulting a child in their home in Marcus, Wash., north of Kettle Falls.

Brian D. Lembcke, 34, and Rebecca L. Pelissier, 37, were arrested on charges of third-degree assault of a child and booked into Stevens County Jail Thursday. They allegedly assaulted an 11-year-old girl they had been caring for. It is unclear what their relationship is to the child.

Stevens County sheriff's deputies were called to a report the girl had been assaulted on Wednesday.

They obtained a search warrant on the home to recover items used in the alleged assault. Itwas unclear what the items were or if any were recovered.

The case has been turned over to the Stevens County prosecutor's office. Third-degree assault of a child is a class C felony in Washington.

Plea Deal In Case Of Abused Twins?

Item: Offer on the table: Possible plea deal could dismiss one of two counts against mother of neglected twins/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A pretrial settlement offer is on the table in Elisabeth C. Crossley's case that, if accepted by the court, would dismiss one felony count against her in exchange for a guilty plea to another, according to court documents. Crossley, 26, is currently charged with two counts of felony injury to a child. Idaho statutes say each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Question: Are you OK with a plea deal in this case involving significant child abuse?

Oregon sex offender arrested in Idaho

A convicted sex offender with a lengthy criminal history in Oregon is accused of molesting a Post Falls girl.

Roy L. Goldsborough, 51, is in Kootenai County Jail on $500,000 for one charge of lewd conduct with a minor.

He’s accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-girl who told her mother about the alleged abuse last week.

Post Falls police recorded a phone call between the girl and Goldsborough in which he confessed to the abuse, according to court documents.

Goldsborough was arrested in a Wal-Mart parking lot last Wednesday, where police said he appeared to be trying to fix a flat tire.

Goldsborough, of Coos Bay, Ore., moved to Post Falls about two months ago. His criminal history in Oregon includes several sex abuse convictions, police said.

Child porn probe leads to Spokane man

A 44-year-old man was arrested Thursday after police connected him to hundred of images of child pornography.

Darrel W. Monzingo was taken into custody at his home at 3403 E. Fairview Ave., after detectives served a search warrant there about 9 a.m.

Spokane police Detective Jan Pofacher developed Monzingo as a suspect after Colorado detectives said they'd shared files with a Spokane man, according to a news release.

Investigators found pornographic videos and photos on Monzingo’s computers. His home is about a block from an elementary school.

Now he’s in jail on one count of possession of child pornography. Police say more charges are expected.

Man, 20, accused of breaking boy’s arm

A 20-year-old Spokane man is in jail on charges that he broke a young boy’s left arm.

Andrew J. Long told Spokane police that the boy, who is less than a year old, fell off a couch at 4925 E. Commerce Ave. on Saturday, but doctors said the injury was too severe.

Long was caring for the boy while his parents were out for the evening. He said he fell asleep with the boy on the coach and awoke to him crying. The boy underwent surgery to repair his arm.

Long remains in jail on $75,000 bond after appearing in court on a second-degree assault charge.

Feces-caked 2-year-olds rescued in CdA

Coeur d’Alene police on Sunday arrested a woman whose 2-year-old twin daughters were found with dried feces caked all over their bodies.

Elizabeth C. Crossley, 26, was charged with two counts of felony injury to a child. A warrant also was issued Monday for the arrest of the children’s grandmother, Ruth K. Cassidy, 55. The children are in the custody of the Idaho Health and Welfare Department, a Coeur d’Alene Police Department news release said. 

Chief Wayne Longo praised passer-by Anthony Brown for reporting the children’s condition to the police after he walked by the apartment at 1201 N. Lincoln Way around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and saw the two girls sleeping naked on the floor in what appeared to be “very dirty conditions,” the release said.

When officers arrived, they also saw through the window two children laying face down on the carpet clutching a small teddy bear. They appeared to be huddled together for warmth. There were dirty diapers on the floor and on the window sill and the walls in the room appeared to be smeared with feces. 

Once inside, the officers said they saw a large number of cats and two dogs and garbage and clutter strewn about, the release said. Rotting food sat on the stove and counter. Officers said the beds in Crossley’s and Cassidy’s bedrooms appeared to be relatively clean but when they opened the door to the children’s bedroom, one officer had to step outside to vomit. The smell of feces was overwhelming and both children had it caked on their heads, arms, legs, hands and feet. They also had bruising and open sores.

The children were immediately removed and placed into protective custody. They were then taken to Kootenai Medical Center for further evaluation of their injuries.

Police said a couch cushion was tied to the door of the girls’ room “in such a fashion to stop the girls from hitting the door or pounding on it.” A child door knob safety device prevented the girls from opening the door from the inside. The room had no furniture.

When the officer asked Cassidy the girls’ names, she was initially unable to tell them apart, the release said.

“She was ultimately able to tell them apart by lifting up their shirts to differentiate between their injuries,” the release said.

Crossley offered no explanation for their injuries or living conditions other than to say they were difficult to manage.

Baby sitter charged w/ manslaughter

A baby sitter accused of killing a 3-year-old Post Falls boy will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a judge ruled this week.

Kootenai County prosecutors had sought to charge Amanda L. Skogen, 26, with first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty. 

But First District Court Magistrate Judge Clark A. Peterson ruled Wednesday that while Skogen’s actions had “incredibly grievous” consequences, they did not amount to murder.

Prosecutors say Skogen was on her knees when she violently shoved Cohen Johnson on Oct. 4, causing him to fall back and hit his head.

She confessed to shoving the boy after he wet his pants and reportedly told police: “I hurt a poor little defenseless boy … And it was all my fault.”

Idaho law allows for a first-degree murder charge if the death occurred in the course of aggravated battery on a child under 12, but Peterson questioned whether Skogen’s actions before Cohen’s death constituted aggravated battery.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Past coverage:

Oct. 12: Baby sitter in boy’s death: ‘It was all my fault’

Oct. 11: Idaho baby sitter jailed on murder charges

Suspect arraigned in baby’s assault

A 21-year-old man accused of critically injuring his girlfriend’s 5-month-old son pleaded not guilty Friday in Whitman County Superior Court.

 Nathan J. Cranfield was arraigned on a first-degree assault charge as his alleged victim, Seth Bold, remains in critical condition at a Spokane hospital.

Medics responded to a report of the boy not breathing Monday at 1:47 a.m. at 407 Main Street in Albion, where Cranfield and Sarah Young lived with the infant.

Read my full story here.

Idaho baby sitter: ‘It was all my fault’

A Post Falls baby sitter accused of murdering a 3-year-old boy told police after failing a polygraph test, “I hurt a poor little defenseless boy … And it was all my fault,” documents released Tuesday say.

Amanda L. Skogen, 25, remains in Kootenai County Jail on $1 million bail after appearing in First District Court on a first-degree murder charge Tuesday.

Skogen replied “uh, yes,” when asked if she understood the charge against her, which is punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Skogen is a flight risk and emphasized that while she cooperated with investigators, she didn’t confess until she failed the polygraph exam.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 11: Baby sitter jailed on murder charges

Baby sitter jailed on murder charge

A 25-year-old baby sitter accused of murder declined to speak with investigators after her arrest Friday and has asked for an attorney. 

Amanda L. Skogen has no criminal history and was never suspected of abuse before 3-year-old Cohen Johnson suffered a traumatic head injury that led to his death last week. Cohen died at a Spokane hospital Friday and Skogen, a family friend who had been watching the boy since June, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge.

She’s being held without bail at the Kootenai County Jail and is expected to appear in court Tuesday. (I’ll be talking to TV pundit Nancy Grace about the case tonight at 5:30 p.m. Here’s a clip from my previous appearance.)

Skogen called 911 last Monday about 4:30 p.m. to report Cohen unresponsive and not breathing. She lied to investigators about what happened but eventually confessed Tuesday afternoon to shoving the boy to the ground after he wet his pants, said Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug.

Cohen’s 2-year-old sister was present at the time.

“This is not a freak accident or fluke,” Haug said. “This is somebody who acted out of anger, shoved a child and caused his death.”

Skogen had cared for the boy since June. Her husband apparently knows the boy’s father from high school, Haug said.

Cohen’s parents are separated, and Skogen had been caring for him at her home on North Elm Road since about June while his parents worked during the day. Cohen apparently wet his pants while on Skogen’s couch, which angered her, Haug said.

Haug said the boy “flew across the room” and hit the back of his head on a concrete floor. He was taken to Kootenai Medical Center, where a CT scan revealed a bleeding skull fracture. He was airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane, where he was pronounced dead Friday at 1:21 p.m. Skogen was arrested shortly after.

Under Idaho law, homicides involving children under 12 are to be charged as first-degree murder.

Boy’s murder suspect faces more charges

A man accused of beating to death his girlfriend’s 1-year-old son has been charged with a previous assault on another child. 

James R. “J.R.” Cooley, 22, already jailed on $1 million bond for first-degree murder, was ordered held on an additional $250,000 bail Tuesday on two counts of first-degree assault for the beating of a baby boy in May.

Cooley was considered a person of interest in the assault, which left the boy mentally disabled, since it was reported May 5, but he was not charged until he confessed during a police interrogation after his arrest for murder last week, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Monday.

Cooley wrote a letter of apology to that baby’s mother, April Fagan, during the interrogation, saying, “I’m so sorry for what happened. I didn’t think it would hurt him that bad,” according to the affidavit.

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 30: Boyfriend arrested after baby found dead

Accused child killer mad over lack of pot

A 22-year-old Spokane man already under investigation for abusing a baby girl was arrested late Tuesday after his girlfriend’s 1-year-old son was found beaten to death in their Hillyard apartment. 

James R. “J.R.” Cooley, 22, (left) told detectives he squeezed and shook little Santiago McCreight repeatedly because he was frustrated with the child’s crying “and his own lack of having marijuana,” according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Spokane police. 

The affidavit was filed Wednesday to support a first-degree murder charge against Cooley, who was ordered jailed on $1 million bond during his first court appearance. 

Police also will recommend assault charges against Cooley for an alleged beating on May 5 that left his then-girlfriend’s 6-month-old daughter blind and mentally disabled, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

Police didn’t have probable cause to arrest Cooley in that case until his interview with detectives late Tuesday, DeRuwe said.

Read my full story here.

Santiago’s aunt, Angela Gilbert, is pictured above holding a photo of her sister and the boys. A memorial for Santiago is pictured at right.

Man beats baby to death…

Good morning, Netizens…

I am utterly aghast at James R. Cooley’s murder of Santiago McCreight, a one year-old baby boy who was beaten to death by Cooley. Cooley has been arrested, which is perhaps “too little too late”, because according to various reports, he had already assaulted Santiago’s older brother, beating him and throwing him into the bathtub before killing the baby. This doesn’t include a previous instance of shaking a baby, on May 5 of this year that left his former girlfriend’s 6-month-old daughter blind and mentally disabled.

I suspect by now that many have seen the various television news interviews with the baby’s mother, Rebecca L. McCollough, and although I do not like watching public displays of private grief, in this instance it serves a function of holding Cooley’s life ending in the baby’s murder up to the light of public censure. I feel certain most people, including the police officers who investigated this case and made the arrest of Cooley, would agree with me that Cooley is sick, depraved and revolting beyond words. He beat a one year-old baby to death for crying.

As obtuse as it might seem, there are some lessons to be learned from this horrific murder.

I feel quite resolute in my belief that Rebecca McCollough had no warning of Cooley’s previous violence against children, nor of Cooley’s extensive criminal background which came to light just yesterday. There has to be a middle ground here, between protecting the privacy rights of citizens and allowing women, particularly with children, to learn about potential boyfriends previous violent crimes, particularly against children and infants.

A single woman with children who wants to know more information about potential boyfriends simply cannot get any information from authorities. In the case of James R. Cooley and Rebecca McCollough the system failed miserably at protecting her children. How can we make the system better? Cooley should have been arrested back in May of this year, yet he was able to convince investigators then of his innocence.

That plus we have a profound need in our sick society to understand and treat the mental illness of such men as James R. Cooley. We need to understand the long-term implications of drug abuse since it seems in addition to being a sick, perverted child abuser, Cooley also had a drug habit. How do drug habits and child abuse “fit” with one another? That seems like a damned good question.

All the recriminations and outpouring of public angst will do no good if we cannot learn from the errors of our ways, especially when an innocent one year-old baby is beaten to death by a man who had previous to this time, beaten a baby.

Rest in Peace, Santiago.


Police: CdA man broke young boy’s leg

A Coeur d’Alene man is accused of breaking the leg of his fiance’s child over the weekend. 

Michael R. Edinger, 27, is jailed on two counts of cruelty to children after he and his fiance, Rebecca L. Mullin, took Mullin’s 2-year-old son to Kootenai Medical Center on Saturday with what nurses said was an “unexplainable broken leg,” according to a police report.

Mullin sobbed during interviews with police, but Edinger “sat emotionless,” according to the report, which was prepared by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

Mullin said the boy was out of their sight when they heard a loud scream and found him at the bottom of a stairway.

But nurses said the boy’s injury - a spiral fracture of the left femur - is extremely rare and most likely caused by abuse.

The boy also had broken bones that appeared to have been inflicted several weeks ago, nurses said.

The couple, who work at Buck Knives in Post Falls, blamed the boy’s injuries on his clumsiness, but Edinger eventually told police he’d lost his temper and broken the boy’s leg while changing his diaper on Friday, police said.

Edinger’s parents arrived as he was being arrested, and Edinger reportedly told them what he’d done. Investigators “heard Edinger’s mother tell him that he shouldn’t be apologizing to her, but to the little boy that he injured,” according to the report.

Edinger remains in the Kootenai County Jail on $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled Oct. 7.

Spokane police investigating baby’s death

Spokane police are investigating the death of a baby boy and say his mother’s boyfriend is the only suspect.

 The 1-year-old boy was not breathing when officers arrived at an East Everett Avenue home in Hillyard just before 5 p.m., according to a news release by Lt. Dave McGovern.

“Detectives are interviewing the family and are currently questioning a suspect, the boyfriend of the child’s mother,” McGovern wrote at 8 p.m. “No arrests have been made as of yet. There are no other outstanding suspects. The investigation is ongoing and there is no further information at this time.”

KHQ: Kyra Wine Continues To Heal

Last night, KHQ followed Kyra Wine, of St. Maries, to camp and provided this video that shows she is rebounding from the horrible abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother and her horrible boyfriend.

Kyra Wine Back On Her Feet

Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics patient advocate Carrie Davis picks up Kyra Wine, 5, after she tried out her new prosthetic “stubbies” that will allow her to play outside this summer. Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics practitioner Don Christenson, who fitted Wine, is in the background. Meghann Cuniff SR story here. (SR Photo: Colin Mulvany)

A North Idaho girl who was abused so badly both her feet were amputated received a new pair of prosthetics Friday morning. Doctors fitted Kyra Wine, 5, with a new pair of “stubbies” at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics. “Stubbies” are described as short prosthetic legs without knee joints. Doctors say these are specifically for summer, designed for running and jumping and even swimming. Kyra’s prosthetics were personalized with a heart design/KREM2. More here. (Courtesy Photo: These photos taken in fall 2007 show Amanda Wine, left, now 6, Kyra Wine, now 3. Courtesy of Norma Mabbutt.)


Injured baby still improving at hospital

A 2-month-old baby who suffered what Spokane police initially feared would be fatal injuries continues to improve at a hosptial, family said.

SkyeLynn A. Jamison is to be released next week, a family member said Saturday on a Facebook page created for the girl.

SkyeLynn's father, 18-year-old Tyler L. Jamison, pleaded not guilty today to a charge of first-degree assault. He was arrested last month.

Read a story on his arraignment here.

Past coverage:

April 12: Injured baby improving at Spokane hospital

April 8: Police: Baby brain dead after assault by father

Man pleads guilty to ‘08 murder of baby

A Spokane man who murdered a 7-month-old girl, then assaulted her older brother, faces 12 to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced next month. 

Jereme J. Bassett, 24, has been in Spokane County Jail since March 20, 2008, the day his now ex-girlfriend brought her daughter, Nevaeh Alana Miller, to Sacred Heart Medical Center with head trauma so severe doctors said recovery was hopeless.

Bassett recently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and third-degree assault of a child and will be sentenced May 3.

“I wish he would have burned in Hell instead, but it sounds like this is the best deal we’re going to get,” said Nevaeh’s grandmother, Deborah Parks. “It’ll never replace what he took from us.”

The assault conviction stems from Bassett choking Nevaeh’s 8-year-old half-brother and slamming him into a bed after the children’s mother, Jennifer Wilcox, rushed Nevaeh to the hospital. The boy had commented to Bassett that Nevaeh “was brain dead,” according to court documents.

Bassett was unemployed and regularly watched Nevaeh and the boy while Wilcox worked.

Wilcox returned the day of Bassett’s arrest to find her baby unresponsive in the room she and Bassett shared at the West Wynn Motel on Sunset Boulevard.

Bassett had called her earlier to say Nevaeh had fallen and hit her head but seemed OK. He told police he tried to revive the child, then smoked marijuana with two friends who were visiting.

Nevaeh was pronounced dead on March 22, 2008. Her organs were donated to three babies. Parks said she stays in contact with the parents of the baby who received Nevaeh’s heart.

“That’s made a big difference,” she said.

Bassett has past convictions for possession of a controlled substance, residential burglary, and attempted first-degree theft. His criminal history calls for a standard sentencing range of 144 to 244 months.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese approved Bassett’s plea deal on Thursday, the same day Spokane police announced the arrest of 18-year-old Tyler L. Jamison on accusations that he assaulted his 2-month-old daughter, SkyeLynn.

Past coverage:

Girls organs given to 3 babies

Troubles started early for man accused in baby’s death

Police: Baby brain dead after father’s assault

When medics first saw Skyelynn Jamison this week, the two-month-old girl had a serious head injury, broken ribs and bruises all over her body.

Her father, 18-year-old Tyler L. Jamison, told a doctor on the phone earlier that he thought something was wrong, but police say he ignored orders to take the girl to a hospital immediately.

Now Skyelynn is on life support at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, and Jamison is in Spokane County Jail on a first-degree assault charge that police say will be amended to a murder charge if Skyelynn dies.

The girl is not expected to survive, said police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

Detectives arrested Jamison late Wednesday after his girlfriend’s family told 911 dispatchers he planned to leave town to escape arrest.

Spokane County District Court Judge Debra Hayes called the police description of the case “difficult for anyone to read” before ruling Jamison a flight risk Thursday. His bail was set at $200,000.

Read the rest of my story here.

Skyelynn is the third Spokane baby in two years to suffer fatal injuries allegedly at the hands of a caretaker.

In March 2008, Nevaeh Alana Miller died after police say her mother’s boyfriend, Jereme J. Bassett, abused her. Bassett, 24, is scheduled for trial in June on one charge of second-degree murder.

In December 2008, Izayah Arlen Wayne Denison died at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, Andrew W. Whitmire. Whitmire, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November and is serving 14 years in prison.

In February, Daniel S. O’Brien, 23, was charged with assaulting his 2-month-old daughter, Tristan. He remains in jail.

Confession is good for the soul…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Sometimes cartoonist David Horsey outdoes himself in his eloquence and in today’s cartoon, I believe he stepped into a sensitive issue with eloquence and truth. If the absolute truth is ever known about sexual child abuse by Catholic priests the sheer numbers of its innocent victims casts a hideous pall upon the church. It is just about who knew. We have had our share of sexual abuse cases here in Spokane, and the malodorous stench of their combined stories casts an overwhelming and horribly sad commentary upon our times.

For too long it has been considered acceptable behavior to turn a blind eye to wayward priests, for Bishops to routinely shuffle them from parish to parish lest someone notice or object to such abysmal behavior. One would hope that such things no longer will take place.

Instead, as David Horsey suggests, from the parish priests to the highest-ranking members of the Vatican should fall on their knees, confess their transgressions, with the tacit understanding that as part of confession they go forth and sin no more, including the sins of silence and denial.

We should also remember the priests who live saintly lives, living in purity and in a state of grace, for I believe they outnumber those who have committed sins of the flesh.


Father pleads not guilty to child abuse

A Spokane man accused of assaulting his infant daughter pleaded not guilty to the charge Tuesday.

Daniel S. O’Brien, 23, was arrested Feb. 10 after he and his girlfriend, Jordan Calvert, brought their 2-month-old daughter, Tristan, to a Spokane hospital with bruises and fractured bones, including a broken rib and fractured skull.

O’Brien reportedly admitted to causing the girl’s injuries and said he had mental problems that caused him to blackout when angry. He told police he’d sought mental health services but couldn’t pay because he didn’t have insurance, according to court documents.

O’Brien is in Spokane County Jail on $50,000 bail for one count first-degree assault of a child. His next court date is in April.

Spokane father accused of abusing infant

A Spokane man is accused of abusing his 2-month-old daughter.

Daniel S. O’Brien, 23, was arrested Friday after doctors said the girl’s injuries, which include a broken leg, were consistent with abuse, according to the Spokane Police Department.

O’Brien appeared in Spokane County Superior Court today on one count of first-degree assault of a child and is in custody on $50,000 bond.

“The injuries didn’t match up with any plausible explanation,” said Officer Jennifer DeRuweÖ. “It’s not often you find a 2-month-old with fractured bones.”

The girl is expected to survive, DeRuwe said.

Child molestation at Halloween…

Good morning, Netizens…

Here’s an idea from the Associated Press Wire we in Spokane might put to good use.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Registered sex offenders in a northern Alabama city won’t have a hard time making Halloween plans.

They’re expected to attend a mandatory meeting hosted by state and federal probation officers next Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

That conveniently falls in the time most children in Huntsville will be out trick-or-treating.

The Huntsville Times reports that the educational program will review both state and federal sex offenders laws. It’s meant to encourage accountability and behavior changes in the offenders.

Accountability? Behavior change? What a novel concept for convicted sex offenders and predators in Spokane! Of course, my built-in distrust of the system makes me wonder if the ACLU might not step in and cry such an arrangement was a violation of the predator’s civil liberties. After all, they have completed their prison sentences and are no longer a threat to society’s children, right?

On the other hand, if we organized a mandatory meeting for all sexual predators in Spokane on Halloween, all under the aegis of an educational program, perhaps the sheer number of convicted predators that might show up might scare the bejesus out of parents throughout the Spokane region into sending predators a strong warning note.

WARNING! Spokane is a do-not-molest zone. The rights of our kids are more important to us than your civil liberties.


Quote of the Day — March 29, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…

This morning’s somewhat-acerbic quote should certainly get the blood pulsing through your veins.

Experts say you should never hit your children in anger. When is a good time? When you’re feeling festive?

Attributed to Roseanne Barr

Okay, so when it is acceptable to hit a child? I’m sorry, but you cannot quote me, as a victim of child abuse, when I should paddle the behind of a child, because I don’t have a good role model upon which to base a decision. Did you ever paddle a misbehaving child on his butt? Did you ever slap a child’s face? If you practiced alternatives to either, please share the wealth with everyone, because this child abuse is still a national disgrace. Are either forms of disciplinary action child abuse?

Some say either is child abuse, but in my opinion, the jury is still out. Please feel free to expound on this issue of national importance.


Jesuits file for bankruptcy protection

Good morning, Netizens…

[Portions from KREM-2, The Portland Oregonian and the AP wire]

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Catholic order that founded Gonzaga University and helps run the school has declared bankruptcy because of the potential for huge amounts of priest sex abuse settlements. The Jesuits of the Oregon Province filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Portland on Tuesday.

According to the official think-speak of the Jesuits, with approxmately 200 additional claims pending or threatening against their priests, bankruptcy was the only way that equitable financial settlements could be offered to victims.

Formally known as the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, the Roman Catholic order declared assets of $4.8 million and liabilities of nearly $62 million, according to the 123-page filing posted in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon.

“Our decision to file Chapter 11 was not an easy one, but with approximately 200 additional claims pending or threatened, it is the only way we believe that all claimants can be offered a fair financial settlement within the limited resources of the province,” said Oregon’s provincial, the Rev. Patrick J. Lee, in a written statement which appeared on the Portland Oregonian web site.

The Jesuits are also affiliated with Gonzaga Preparatory School, the large Catholic high school in Spokane and various other educational institutions.